POPE INTERVIEW: TALKS WITH CHINA, MIGRATION, CHILE ABUSE CRISIS – POPE SAYS NO TO WOMEN PRIESTS, YES TO WOMEN IN CURIAL LEADERSHIP – POPE TALKS TO REUTERS ABOUT THE ‘DIALOGUE WITH CHINA’

The papal interview seen by Vatican News, CNA and AsiaNews:

POPE INTERVIEW: TALKS WITH CHINA, MIGRATION, CHILE ABUSE CRISIS

Pope Francis spoke about talks with China, migration policy, populism, Chile’s clerical sex abuse crisis, reform of the Roman Curia, and other issues in a wide-ranging interview with the Reuters news agency. The interviewer was Philip Pullella, head of Reuter’s Rome bureau.

by Susy Hodges (Vatican news)

In a new one-on-one interview Pope Francis has responded to a series of questions on various issues including the Holy See’s talks with China, the position of women within the Church, migration policy, populism, Chile’s clerical sex abuse crisis and reform of the Roman Curia.

Talks with China “at a good point”
Asked in the interview about relations with China, Pope Francis said he was optimistic about the outcome of normalization talks with the Chinese authorities saying they were “at a good point” but couldn’t say when they would conclude. He acknowledged that dialogue “is a risk” but said he preferred that to “the certain defeat” of not holding a dialogue with Beijing.

The Pope talked at length about immigration during the interview and was asked about the U.S. administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the U.S./Mexican border. In his reply, he said he supported recent statements issued by U.S. Catholic Bishops who called the separation of children from their parents contrary to Catholic values and immoral.

Turning to the migration situation in Europe, the Holy Father said populists were “creating a psychosis” on the issue of immigration, even as ageing societies like Europe faced “a great demographic winter” and needed more immigrants.

“I believe that you cannot reject people who arrive. You have to receive them, help them, look after them, accompany them and then see where to put them, but throughout all of Europe,” he said. He praised Italy and Greece for being “courageous and generous” by taking in these migrants.

Populism is not the solution
Pope Francis warned that populism does not resolve issues like migration problems. “What resolves things is acceptance, study, prudence,” he said. The Pope also said Europe should stop exploiting Africa and invest in ways that benefit the continent more and this could help solve the problem of migration at its roots.

When asked about women calling for more top positions in the Roman Curia, Pope Francis said he agreed there were few women in positions of responsibility there. He said he wanted to appoint more women to head Vatican departments because “women are better at resolving conflicts.” At the same time, he reiterated that women cannot be ordained to the priesthood. “(Pope) John Paul II was clear on this point and closed the door and I am not going back on that,” he said.

Chile’s clerical sex abuse crisis was another topic discussed at length during the interview. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of three bishops in Chile and said he could accept more resignations in the future.

He spoke of how he returned “a bit worried” after his pastoral visit to Chile in January this year and explained why he decided to send Archbishop Charles Scicluna to the Latin American nation to carry out further investigations into the abuse crisis.

POPE SAYS NO TO WOMEN PRIESTS, YES TO WOMEN IN CURIAL LEADERSHIP

Vatican City, Jun 20, 2018 / 03:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In an interview with Reuters, Pope Francis said more space has to be created for women to take on leading roles in the Roman Curia, but that priestly ordination is not an option.

Responding to a question about women’s ordination to the priesthood, the pope said “there is the temptation to ‘functionalize’ the reflection on women in the Church, what they should do, what they should become.”

“We cannot functionalize women,” he said, explaining that while the Church is referred to as a woman, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is out of the question “because dogmatically it doesn’t work.”

“John Paul II was clear and closed the door, and I will not go back on this. It was something serious, not something capricious,” he said, adding, “it cannot be done.”

However, Francis stressed that while the priesthood is out, women do need to be given more opportunities for leadership in the Roman Curia – a view he said has at times been met with resistance.

“I had to fight to put a woman as the vice-director of the press office,” he said, referring to his decision in 2016 to name Spanish journalist Paloma Garica Ovejero as the Vatican’s deputy spokesperson.

He said he at one point offered a woman the job of heading the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, but she turned it down because “she already had other commitments.”

Women in the Curia “are few, we need to put more,” he said, adding that it can be either a religious sister or a laywoman, “it doesn’t matter,” but there is a need to move forward with an eye for quality and competency in the job.

“I don’t have any problem naming a woman as the head of a dicastery, if the dicastery doesn’t have jurisdiction,” he said, referring to the fact that some Vatican departments have specific functions in Church governance that require a bishop to do the job. Lay men are also ineligible to oversee offices that require the jurisdictional authority of a priest or bishop.

For example, the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy has jurisdiction, so it has to be led by a bishop, but for others, such as the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, “I would not have a problem naming a competent woman,” Francis said.

Women must continue to be promoted, but without falling into “a feminist attitude,” the pope said, adding that “in the end it would be machismo with a skirt. We don’t want to fall into this.”

Pope Francis spoke during an interview with American journalist Phil Pullella of Reuters, which took place Sunday at the pope’s Vatican residence, and was published June 20.

In the interview, the pope touched on a variety of topics, including a possible deal with China on the appointment of bishops, clerical abuse and the ongoing scandal in Chile, the reform of the Roman Curia, and criticism he’s faced.

On the topic of women, Francis said that in his experience, things are usually done better when there is a mixed group working on a task, rather than just men.

“Women have an ability to understand things, it’s another vision,” he said, noting that whenever he has visited prisons run by women, they “seemed to do better,” because women know how to be “mothers” and care for inmates and their needs in a unique way.

“Women know how to manage conflicts better. In these things, women are braver,” he said, adding, “I think it would be so also in the Curia if there were more women.”

Francis noted that some have said inviting more women into the mix might mean there is more gossip, however, he said he does not believe that would be the case, “because we men are also gossipers.”

POPE TALKS TO REUTERS ABOUT THE ‘DIALOGUE WITH CHINA’

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis was interviewed by Philip Pullella of Reuters. In the tête-à-tête, the pontiff said that with respect to the dialogue with China, “We are at a good point”. In addition to diplomatic channels there are friendships and cultural exchanges. The Chinese people are “very wise” and know how to wait. By kind permission, we publish here a translation of an excerpt from the registration of the interview between the Holy Father and the journalist two days ago.

Q: How is the rapprochement with China?
R. We are at a good point, but relations with China follow three different paths. First of all, there is the official one. The Chinese delegation comes here, takes part in meetings, and then the Vatican delegation goes to China. Relations are good and we have managed to do good things. This is the official dialogue.

Then there is a second dialogue, of everyone and with everyone. “I am a cousin of the minister so and so who sent me to say that . . .”. There is always an answer. “Yes, all right, let’s go forward.” These side channels are open, let’s say, at a human level, and we do not want to burn them. We can see goodwill, both from the Holy See and the Chinese government.

The third path, which for me is the most important in the rapprochement with China, is cultural. Some priests work at Chinese universities. Then there is also culture, like the exhibit that was put on in the Vatican and in China.[1] This is the traditional path, like those of the great ones, like Matteo Ricci.

I like to think about relations with China as, multifaceted, based not only the official diplomatic one, because the other two are very enriching. I think things are going well. In your question, you mentioned two steps forward and one step backward. I think the Chinese deserve the Nobel Prize for patience, because they are good, they know how to wait, time is theirs and they have centuries of culture . . . They are a wise people, very wise. I respect China a lot.

Q: How do you respond to concerns such as those of Cardinal Zen?

A: Cardinal Zen taught theology in patriotic seminaries. I think he’s a little scared. Perhaps age might have some influence. He is a good man. He came to talk to me. I received him, but he’s a bit scared. Dialogue is a risk, but I prefer the risk to the sure defeat of not talking. With respect to time, someone mentioned Chinese time. I think it is God’s time, forward, calm.

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POPE FRANCIS ON MIGRATION, AFRICA, WOMEN, CHILE, CHINA

Pope Francis is in Geneva today to mark the 70th anniversary of the WCC, the World Council of Churches. The Catholic Church is not a member of the WCC but has a partnership rather than membership relation. When Catholic Church delegates attend WCC meetings they are referred to as “delegate observers.”

Membership in the WCC is actually by national churches thus, of the 345 members, for example, there might be 35 or so Lutheran churches, 45 Anglican churches and so on. There is no national Catholic Church, rather it relates to other Christian churches in the WCC as an international Christian communion. Catholic delegates do participate in many ways and contribute to the WCC commissions.

EWTN is covering the tip with photos, articles, tweets and FB posts.

POPE FRANCIS ON MIGRATION, AFRICA, WOMEN, CHILE, CHINA

Phil Pullela of Reuters had an interview over the weekend with Pope Francis in the Santa Marta residence. Following are Reuters articles that highlight the various topics touched on. The writing and editing of the interview includes reports from other Reuters bureaus, such as Beijing.

US IMMIGRATION POLICY

Pope Francis has criticized the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the Mexican border, saying populism is not the answer to the world’s immigration problems.
Speaking to Reuters, the Pope said he supported recent statements by U.S. Catholic bishops who called the separation of children from their parents “contrary to our Catholic values” and “immoral”.
“It’s not easy, but populism is not the solution,” Francis said on Sunday night.
In a rare, wide-ranging interview, the pope said he was optimistic about talks that may lead to a historic agreement over the appointment of bishops in China, and said he may accept more bishops’ resignations over a sexual abuse scandal in Chile.
Reflecting at his Vatican residence on his five years as pope, he defended his leadership of the Roman Catholic Church against criticism by conservatives inside and outside the Church who say his interpretation of its teachings is too liberal.
He also said he wanted to appoint more women to top positions in the Vatican administration.
One of his most pointed messages concerned President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, in which U.S. authorities plan to criminally prosecute all immigrants caught crossing the Mexican border illegally, holding adults in jail while their children are sent to government shelters.
The policy has caused an outcry in the United States and has been condemned abroad as videos emerged of youngsters held in concrete-floored enclosures and an audio of wailing children went viral.
U.S. Catholic bishops have joined other religious leaders in the United States in condemning the policy.

AFRICA

Europe should stop exploiting Africa and invest in ways that benefit the continent more, including by sharing mineral wealth more equitably, Pope Francis said.

“We must invest in Africa, but invest in an orderly way and create employment, not go there to exploit it,” he told Reuters in a wide-ranging interview, while discussing the migration of Africans to Europe.
“When a country grants independence to an African country it is from the ground up – but the subsoil is not independent. And then people (outside Africa) complain about hungry Africans coming here. There are injustices there!”
Touching on the reasons for hunger in Africa, the pope said that, “in our collective unconscious there is something inside us that says Africa must be exploited.”
His comments follow moves in some African countries to win more generous terms from international mining companies.
In Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, the government has enacted a new mining code that is designed to earn extra money for the state from copper, cobalt and gold produced there.
Mining companies say the government should reconsider the law in order to respect exemptions that were granted by its predecessor.
The pope said Europe needed to focus on education and investment in Africa if it wanted to stem the flow of migrants, which is also an increasingly divisive issue in Italy, where the new governing coalition is taking a hard line.
“And there’s a problem,” he added. “We send people back to those who have sent them here. They end up in the jails of traffickers.”
The pope then showed Reuters graphic photographs that he said showed victims of human trafficking who had been tortured and killed in an unspecified location in Africa.

CHINA

Pope Francis has voiced optimism for improved ties between the Vatican and China, rejecting criticism that the Holy See may be selling out Catholics to Beijing’s communist government.

The Vatican and China are in advanced talks to resolve a dispute over the appointment of bishops in China, one of the biggest obstacles to resuming diplomatic ties that were cut almost 70 years ago.
“We are at a good point,” the pope told Reuters in an interview at his Vatican residence.
China’s estimated 12 million Catholics are split between an underground Church that swears loyalty to the Vatican and the state-supervised Catholic Patriotic Association.
Pope Francis did not comment in the interview on the details under discussion but said dialogue was the best way forward.
“Dialogue is a risk, but I prefer risk rather than the certain defeat that comes with not holding dialogue,” he said.
“As for the timing, some people say it’s ‘Chinese time’. I say it’s God’s time. Let’s move forward serenely.”
Francis said the road to reconciliation with China was divided into three paths — the official dialogue, unofficial contacts among ordinary citizens “which we do not want to burn,” and cultural dialogue.
“I think the Chinese people merit the Nobel Prize for patience. They know how to wait. Time is theirs and they have centuries of culture …. They are a wise people, very wise. I have great respect for China,” he said.
Asked about the comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China was sincere about improving two-way ties with the Vatican, and had made “unremitting efforts”.
“We are willing to meet the Vatican side halfway, and make new progress in the process of improving relations and advancing constructive bilateral dialogue,” Geng told a regular news briefing in Beijing on Thursday, without elaborating.
The most outspoken critic of the pope’s China strategy is 86-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen, a former bishop of Hong Kong, who has said the direction of negotiations suggests the Vatican is preparing to sell out the underground church.
In Hong Kong, a beachhead for Vatican loyalists in southern China, some priests say the talks could be a trap leading to greater persecution of underground believers and ultimately to tighter Communist Party control of their religion.

CHILE AND SEX ABUSE CASES

Pope Francis has said he could accept the resignations of more Chilean bishops following a sexual abuse scandal that has shattered the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church in the South American country.

The pope has already accepted the resignations of three bishops, and all Chile’s remaining bishops have offered to resign after allegations that the abuse, including of children, was covered up.

The scandal was “the work of the spirit of evil,” the pope told Reuters in an interview at his residence in the Vatican.
Asked whether he would accept more resignations, the pontiff said: “Maybe some.”
“I still have to accept the resignations of two (bishops) who have exceeded the age limit. But maybe there’s someone else whose resignation I will accept. In one case, I asked that he be given the accusations in order to give him the possibility to defend himself against the accusations and then we will see,” he said.
Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, one of nine cardinals from around the world appointed by the pope to serve as his special advisers, has been accused by abuse survivors of discrediting victims and not investigating their cases. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Asked whether Errázuriz’s position was at risk on the C-9, the pope said: “The C-9 is not an honor, it’s a job. I do not want to get into the game of cutting heads and seeking scapegoats.”
The scandal revolves around Father Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing boys in Santiago in the 1970s and 1980s. Now 87 and living in a nursing home in Chile, he has always denied any wrongdoing.
Four of the about 40 men trained by Karadima for the priesthood later became bishops.
One of the bishops, Juan Barros of the southern city of Osorno, became the focal point of the investigation and is one of the bishops whose resignation the pope has already accepted.
“Many people would have been happy if I had just removed Barros and done nothing else. But no!” the pope said.
Barros has denied allegations that he witnessed and covered up sexual abuse cases.
The scandal came to a head when the Argentine pontiff visited Chile in January. He has since launched a Vatican investigation.
The pope’s sexual abuse investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, has produced a 2,300-page report accusing Chile’s bishops of “grave negligence” in investigating allegations that children were abused and has said evidence of sex crimes was destroyed.
Pope Francis has promised Chilean Catholics that “never again” would the Church ignore them or the cover-up of abuse in their country.
“Families brought their children to Karadima because they believed that the doctrine was sound and they did not know what was happening in there,” he said in the interview.
“The Karadima problem is a very complex problem because there was a blend of the Chilean elite with socio-political situations.”
He called Karadima “a gravely disturbed person”.
The pope said he had returned from his visit to Chile with a feeling of disquiet about the situation there. He said he had summoned all the Chilean bishops to a meeting in Rome because it was “the only thing to do.”
“In the end they said: ‘We want you to feel free, we are all handing in our resignations’,” he said, describing their offer as “a generous gesture”.
The pope said he had wondered what had happened in Chile to cause a sharp drop in support for the Church.
“It’s a difficult phenomenon to understand. Some think it has something to do with a hidden elitism there, but this is just an opinion. Certainly it is the work of the spirit of evil,” he said.

POPE GRANTS INTERVIEW TO MAGAZINE RUN BY HOMELESS – LENTEN FASTING AND ABSTINENCE

Lent starts tomorrow, need I remind you, and I know there might be some uncertainty or confusion regarding the Church’s rules for fasting and abstinence – fasting and abstinence during Lent as well as the rest of the year.

Below, in a nutshell, are the fasting, etc. rules for Lent. I follow that paragraph with what the Code of Canon Law says about this, and then what the USCCB says.

In the meantime I hope you are having a splendid Mardi Gras as we prepare for leaner days to come!

POPE GRANTS INTERVIEW TO MAGAZINE RUN BY HOMELESS

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has given a wide-ranging interview to an Italian magazine run by homeless persons. The interview was published on 28 February in the online magazine called “Scarp de’ tenis” (“Sneakers”).

The magazine also functions as a social project, as most of the staff is homeless, suffers difficult personal situations or forms of social exclusion. For most contributors, the magazine is an important source of income. “Scarp de’ tenis” entered into partnership with the Italian arm of the Vatican’s charity organization, Caritas, in 2008.

In the interview, Pope Francis was asked to explain his recent initiatives for refugees, such as providing accommodation in the Vatican. In his reply, the Pope explained how the initiative to welcome the homeless had inspired parishes throughout Rome to join the effort.

“Here in the Vatican there are two parishes, and both are housing Syrian families. Many parishes in Rome have also opened their doors and others, which don’t have a house for priests, have offered to pay rent for families in need, for a full year” he said.

Throughout the interview the Pope often referred to the idea of walking in each others shoes. According to the Pope, to walk in the other’s shoes is a way to escape our own egoism: “In the shoes of the other, we learn to have a great capacity for understanding, for getting to know difficult situations.”

The Pope maintains that words alone are not enough, what is needed, he said, is the “Greatness” to walk in the shoes of the other: “How often I have met a person who, after having searched for Christian comfort, be they a layman, a priest, a sister or a bishop, they tell me ‘they listened to me, but didn’t understand me.’”

During the interview, the Pope also joked about people’s attitudes concerning giving money to those who live on the streets. “There are many arguments which justify why we should not give these alms: ‘I give money and he just spends it on a glass of wine!’ A glass of wine is his only happiness in life!” joked Pope Francis.

There was also a lesson in generosity within the interview. The Pope told a story from his time in Buenos Aires, of a mother with five children. While the father was at work and the rest of the family ate lunch, a homeless man called in to ask for food. Rather than letting the children give away their father’s dinner for that evening, the mother taught the children to give away some of their own food: “If we wish to give, we must give what is ours!” insisted the Pope.

Regarding the question of limiting numbers of refugee and migrants who arrive in a particular place, the Pope first reminded his readers that many of those arriving are fleeing from war or hunger. All of us in this world, says the Pope, are part of this situation and need to find ways to help and benefit those around us. According to him, this responsibility is especially true of governments and the Pope used the example of the work of the Saint Egidio community (that has established humanitarian corridors for groups of vulnerable migrants) in order to make his point. Regarding the 13 refugees who arrived from Lesbos, the Pope pointed out that the families have integrated well into society, with the children being enrolled in schools and their parents having found work. This, according to Pope Francis, is an example of immigrants wanting to fit into and contribute to a new country, and achieving that desire.

To further underline his point, the Pope highlighted the case of Sweden, where almost 10% of the population, including the Minister for Culture, are immigrants. During his own life, in the difficult years of the military dictatorship in Argentina, the Pope often looked to the Swedish as a positive example of integration.

LENTEN FASTING AND ABSTINENCE

The basic rules: Every person 14 years of age or older must abstain from meat (and items made with meat) on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent. Every person between the age of 18 and 59 (beginning of 60th year) must fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. (image St Michael Catholic Church, Bedford TX)

lent-image

Here is what the 1983 Code of Canon Law says about fasting and abstinence: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4O.HTM

Days of Penance

Can.  1249 The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.

Can.  1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

cacon-1250

Can.  1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Can.  1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.

Can.  1253 The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.

(JFL: Note that Canon law in 1251 says: “Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday.” It is my experience that the majority of Catholics do not know this, i.e. abstinence from meat or another food or an act of penance on all Fridays of the year.) Canon 1253, however, gives leeway on this via the Episcopal Conference of a country (see below).

USCCB (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops):  PASTORAL STATEMENT ON FASTING AND ABSTINENCE

A Statement Issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops November 18, 1966

Here is part of that statement:

21.  For these and related reasons, the Catholic bishops of the United States, far from downgrading the traditional penitential observance of Friday, and motivated precisely by the desire to give the spirit of penance greater vitality, especially on Fridays, the day that Jesus died, urge our Catholic people henceforth to be guided by the following norms.

22.  Friday itself remains a special day of penitential observance throughout the year, a time when those who seek perfection will be mindful of their personal sins and the sins of mankind which they are called upon to help expiate in union with Christ Crucified.

23. Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year. For this reason we urge all to prepare for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday by freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ.

24. Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law. Our expectation is based on the following considerations:

  1. We shall thus freely and out of love for Christ Crucified show our solidarity with the generations of believers to whom this practice frequently became,especially in times of persecution and of great poverty, no mean evidence of fidelity to Christ and His Church.
  2. We shall thus also remind ourselves that as Christians, although immersed in the world and sharing its life, we must preserve a saving and necessary difference from the spirit of the world. Our deliberate, personal abstinence from meat, more especially because no longer required by law, will be an outward sign of inward spiritual values that we cherish.
  1. Every Catholic Christian understands that the fast and abstinence regulations admit of change, unlike the commandments and precepts of that unchanging divine moral law which the Church must today and always defend as immutable. This said, we emphasize that our people are henceforth free from the obligation traditionally binding under pain of sin in what pertains to Friday abstinence, except as noted above for Lent. We stress this so that “no” scrupulosity will enter into examinations of conscience, confessions, or personal decisions on this point.

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/us-bishops-pastoral-statement-on-penance-and-abstinence.cfm

 

CIVILTA CATTOLICA MARKS 4000TH EDITION, FEATURES PAPAL Q&A WITH SUPERIORS GENERAL – BRIEF TAKES FOR THURSDAY….

CIVILTA CATTOLICA MARKS 4000TH EDITION, FEATURES PAPAL Q&A WITH SUPERIORS GENERAL

Pope Francis had a really busy Thursday as he met with Jesuits who write for the Civiltà Cattolicà magazine, currently celebrating its 4000th edition, addressed the plenary of the Congregation for Catholic Education and met with a delegation from the Anti-Defamation League.

Corriere della Sera published an English translation of Fr. Antonio Spadaro’s account of a three-hour meeting and Q&A session that Pope Francis held last November 25th with 140 superiors general of male reliigious congregations. That conversation was published in edition No. 4,000 of Civilta Cattolica, whose editor is Fr. Anttonio Spadaro: http://www.corriere.it/english/17_febbraio_09/pope-francis-there-is-corruption-the-vatican-but-m-at-peace-5f115a68-eeaa-11e6-b691-ec49635e90c8.shtml

In his Thursday meeting with writers of Civilta Cattolica the Pope reflected at length on the importance of poetry, art and pioneering intellectual research, as the magazine seeks to build bridges with many peoples and cultures. Civilta Cattolica was founded in 1850 and originally available only in Italian. It is now adding editions in English, French, Spanish and Korean. Francis also sent the review a hand-signed note. Saying a copy of the magazine “if often on my desk,” he described its history as a boat’s voyage on the open seas, saying writers must never to be afraid of the storms, but proceed courageously, guided by the Spirit, into uncharted waters.

BRIEF TAKES FOR THURSDAY….

POPE FRANCIS ENCOURAGED THE DELEGATION FROM THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE to cultivate justice and foster accord, saying “the fight against anti-Semitism can benefit from effective instruments, such as information and formation.” The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,”

IN HIS REMARKS TO THE CONGREGATION FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION as they meet in plenary session, the Holy Father urged all those involved in Catholic education to be builders of a more united and peaceful world, especially when educating the younger generations. Educational institutes have meaning only in relation to the formation of the person, he stressed. Another of your prime missions, he said, is to offer horizons that are open to transcendence. Francis also stressed the need for a culture of dialogue, saying our world has become a global village in which each person belongs to humanity and shares in the hope for a better future for the whole family of nations.

THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES has issued a statement following its summit on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism which was held in Rome this week. In it the participants resolve “to combat these crimes against humanity through comprehensive efforts that involve all stakeholders around the world.”… We, the undersigned participants of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences Summit on Organ Trafficking,  resolve to combat these  crimes against humanity through comprehensive efforts that involve all stakeholders around the world.

Poverty, unemployment, and the lack of socioeconomic opportunities are factors that make persons vulnerable to organ trafficking and human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal.  Destitute individuals are victimized  in schemes of organ trafficking  when induced to sell their organs in a desperate search for a better life. Similarly, desperate are the patients who are willing to pay large amounts and travel to foreign destinations as transplant tourists to obtain an organ that may keep them alive— oblivious of the short and long-term health  consequences  of  commercial  transplantation.  Unscrupulous  brokers  and  health  care  professionals  make  organ  trafficking possible,  disregarding the dignity  of human beings. FOR FULL STATEMENT: http://www.news.va/en/news/vatican-organ-trafficking-summit-issues-statement

POPE FRANCIS GRANTS PRE-TRIP INTERVIEW TO JESUIT JOURNAL

POPE FRANCIS GRANTS PRE-TRIP INTERVIEW TO JESUIT JOURNAL

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has called making war in the name of religion “satanic” and a “blasphemy.”

His words came in an interview with the Jesuit Catholic journal La Civilta Cattolica ahead of his ecumenical apostolic trip to Sweden. The interview was conducted by Father Ulf Jonsson S.J., the director of the Swedish cultural journal of the Jesuits, Signum.

Pope Francis mentioned the recent interreligious meeting for peace in Assisi, which he called “very important.”

“All of us talked of peace and we asked for peace,” – the Pope said – “ We together said strong words for  peace, what the religions truly want.”

When asked about the suffering of the Christians in the Middle East, Pope Francis called the region “a land of martyrs.”

“I believe that the Lord does not leave his people on their own,” said the Holy Father. “He will not abandon them. When we read of the hard trials of the people of Israel in the Bible or remember the trials of the martyrs, we see how the Lord always comes to the aid of his people.”

The purpose of the trip to Sweden is to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, and much of the discussion in the interview covered ecumenical affairs.

Speaking about the mutual enrichment possible between Christian communities, the Pope was asked what Catholics could learn from Lutherans.

“Two  words  come  to  my  mind:  ‘reform’ and  ‘Scripture’,” – Pope Francis said – “I will try to explain. The first is the word ‘reform’.  At the beginning, Luther’s was a gesture of reform in a difficult time for the Church. Luther wanted to remedy a complex situation.  Then this gesture —also  because  of  the  political  situations,  we  think  also  of  the cuius  regio  eius religio (whose realm , his religion) —became a ‘state’ of separation, and not a process of reform of the whole Church, which is fundamental,  because the Church is semper reformanda (always  reforming).”

“The second  word  is  ‘Scripture’,  the  Word  of  God,” – the Pope continued – “Luther took a great step by putting the Word of God into the hands of the people. Reform and Scripture are two things that we can deepen by looking at the Lutheran tradition. The General  Congregations  before  the  Conclave comes  to  mind and how the request for a reform was alive in our discussions.”

The Holy Father was later asked about how the ecumenical movement can move forward. He responded by saying “theological dialogue must continue,” and pointing to the Joint Declaration on Justification as an important point, but added “it will not be easy to go forward because of the different ways of understanding some  theological questions.”

“Personally, I believe that enthusiasm must shift towards common prayer and the works of mercy — work done together to help the sick, the poor, and the imprisoned,” – Pope Francis said – “To do  something  together is a high and effective form of dialogue.   I also think about education.  It is important to work together and not in a sectarian way. There is a policy we should have clear in every case: to proselytize in the ecclesial field is a sin.”

The full text of the interview can be found on the website of La Civiltà Cattolica here: http://www.laciviltacattolica.it/articoli_download/extra/Interview_with_PF.pdf

THE DEVIL HAS TWO WEAPONS, SAYS FRANCIS, “DIVISION AND MONEY” – VATICAN RELEASES ITINERARY FOR PAPAL TRIP TO SWEDEN – “LAST CONVERSATIONS” BY POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT DEBUTS TODAY

Join me this weekend on VATICAN INSIDER for Part II of my conversation with Fr. Brian Kolodeijchuk, MC, the postulator of Mother Teresa’s cause for canonization. He has, of course, terrific insight and wonderful stories about this nun who was larger than life for everyone who came into contact with her. This is the end of an amazing week in Rome that began with the canonization of Mother Teresa, now St. Teresa of Calutta but still ‘Mother Teresa’ to so many around the world who knew and loved this miniscule woman who was a giant of integrity and sanctity.

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As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:00 am (Eastern time). On the SKY satellite feed to the UK and parts of Europe, VI airs on audio channel 0147 at 11:30 am CET on Saturdays, and 5:30am and 10pm CET on Sundays. It’s also available on demand on the EWTN app and on the website. CHECK FOR YOUR TIME ZONE. Past shows are in VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Which Pope died after 12 days in office?

(Remember, do NOT email me – just enjoy!)

THE DEVIL HAS TWO WEAPONS, SAYS FRANCIS, “DIVISION AND MONEY”

Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday told bishops that division, gossip and money are weapons in the hands of the devil.

Speaking to a group of recently appointed bishops of mission countries at the end of a formation course organized by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Pope said each bishop is called to give testimony of God’s love, care and mercy with their own lives and example. (photo: news.va)

mission-bishops

Pointing out that bishops of mission countries come from places that are “different and distant”, each of you – Pope Francis said – has “the great privilege and responsibility of being on the front lines of evangelization”.

Inviting them never to forget that one of their foremost duties is to respond immediately to the requests and needs of their priests, the Pope warned them against the evils that can wreak damage and destroy their mission to evangelize.

He reminded them that a missionary bishop’s first duty as a pastor is to reach out to the lost sheep and to bring the joy of the gospel to those who perhaps do not know Jesus or have rejected him.

He spoke of the vocation of the episcopal ministry saying that each bishop is called give testimony of Jesus’s care and love for all men and women also through their own personal example.

And he warned of the dangers that can foil this vocation mentioning specifically the factors that – he said – become weapons in the hands of the devil bent on destroying the Church.

“The devil – he said – has two weapons: the main one is division; the other is money”.

And saying that the devil slips in through one’s pockets and wreaks havoc through ‘the tongue’, Pope Francis described the tendency to gossip as “a terroristic” one.

“He who gossips is a terrorist who throws a bomb” – because gossip, he said, destroys.

Urging those present to fight against divisions which can destroy the local Church and the universal Church, he said there are many difficult challenges to overcome, but thanks to the grace of God, thanks to prayer and thanks to penitence, it is possible.

Pope Francis concluded his address to the new missionary bishops urging them to take good care of the people of God who have been entrusted to them, to take good care of their priests, and of their seminarians. “This – he said – is your job”.

VATICAN RELEASES ITINERARY FOR PAPAL TRIP TO SWEDEN

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican on Friday released details of Pope Francis’ trip to Sweden at the end of October to mark the joint Lutheran-Catholic commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The Pope is scheduled to leave from Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 8.20 on the morning on Monday October 31st and arrive in the southern Swedish city of Malmö at 11.00.

Following an official welcome, the Pope will travel to the nearby city of Lund and pay a courtesy visit to the Swedish royal family before leading an ecumenical prayer service with Lutheran leaders in Lund cathedral.

In the afternoon the Pope will take part in a second ecumenical event in Malmö arena and meet with delegations of different Christian Churches present for the occasion.

The following morning, Tuesday November 1st, the Pope will preside at Mass in Malmö  for the Swedish Catholic community before travelling back to the international airport there for an official departure ceremony.

The papal plane is scheduled to leave Malmö at 12.45 and arrive back at Rome’s Ciampino airport at 15.30.

“LAST CONVERSATIONS” BY POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT DEBUTS TODAY

(Vatican Radio) A new book of interviews by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI hit bookshelves Friday in the Italian language. The book entitled “The Last Conversations”, by German journalist Peter Seewald covers a number of themes including his decision to resign.

Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, former head of Vatican Radio and president of the Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI ) Foundation, spoke to the radio’s Lydia O’Kane about some of the key themes.

Scroll down in this link to listen:  http://www.news.va/en/news/fr-lombardi-pope-emeritus-benedict-xvis-new-book-a

For Fr. Lombardi there are two very important aspects of this book. The first he says, is the witness Pope Emeritus Benedict gives as he lives this last phase of his life. “The last time of his life is preparation to (for) the encounter with God. This is a very important witness, profound, spiritual; a witness of faith.”

Fr Lombardi goes on to say that this theme “justifies this book”, because his explanation of “how he experiences now the presence of God in his life is something that is precious and urgent…”

Theme of resignation

Another key theme, says Fr. Lombardi, is “how he gives again clearly – and I think in a definitive way – the reasons for his resignation, eliminating every rumor, every false interpretation as consequence of the scandals of the difficulties.”

“No,” (Benedict) says no, “it was a time I had already overcome the difficulties and then there was the good time to take a decision before God in total responsibility and this I have done and I am happy with this decision and I have not changed my mind.””

Recalling other interesting themes and points in the book, Fr. Lombardi mentions Pope Benedict’s reflections on his participation at the Second Vatican Council, and his collaboration with St John Paul II.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s “The Last Conversations” is published worldwide in Italian September 9th. It is due in English in November. The title is “Last Testament: In His Own Words.”

CNA/EWTN NEWS, in an article dated today, September 9, wrote:

Though he has rarely spoken since resigning from the papacy, Benedict XVI granted several lengthy interviews to German journalist Peter Seewald shortly after stepping down – conversations that touched on themes such as the reform of the Curia, his resignation and his thoughts on Pope Francis.

The interviews, conducted a few months after Benedict’s Feb. 28, 2013, resignation, were released as a book in several languages Sept. 9. The English language version, Last Testament, is due to be published in November.

About 240 pages in length, the book in German is titled Letzte Gespräche. It “touches upon all the most important stages of life of Joseph Ratzinger.”

These stages include Benedict’s childhood under the Nazi regime, the discovery of his vocation to the priesthood, the hardships of the war and his time in the Vatican until his election to the papacy. It also covers “the anxiety” of his first few days as successor of St. Peter, as well as his “painful” decision to resign and his thoughts on Pope Francis.

n his responses to Seewald, Benedict speaks about himself, his faith, his weaknesses, his private life, the scandals and controversial issues of his reign, and his papacy in general, explaining the reason for his choice to resign – “initially only communicated to a few trusted people to avoid leaks,” Corriere della Sera reports.

The retired Pope also speaks about the reform of the Roman Curia, the “Vatileaks” scandal that many pinned as the reason for his stepping-down, and outlines the differences between him and Francis in light of “his own peculiarities” and those of his Argentine successor.

He also mentions the “gay lobby” at the Vatican – a group of four to five persons, which he says he was able to break up.

In a June 28 ceremony at the Vatican marking his 65th anniversary as a priest, Benedict told Pope Francis that from the moment of his election and every day since “your goodness…moves me interiorly, brings me inwardly more than the Vatican Gardens.”

“Your goodness is a place in which I feel protected,” he said of his successor.

Seewald, the author of the new book, is also the author of the 2010 book-length interview with Benedict titled “Light of the Word: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.” He had previously published two other books on then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, ““Final Conversations,” then, will mark the journalist’s fourth book on Benedict from before his election to the throne of Peter, during his papacy and now after his resignation.

CNA contacted Seewald for comment on the book, however, the author said that for the moment, he prefers not to speak.   In an interview with CNA when “Light of the World” came out in 2010, Seewald said Benedict “is one of the greatest minds of the Catholic Church; someone with a great heart and…a fighter by nature, someone who remains standing amidst the storms, someone who is not afraid.”

“He is someone who does not get stuck in the past or in the present. He is someone who is very much a part of our times,” Seewald said, adding that he has always considered Benedict “a very modern man, someone who is always accessible, who promotes and seeks dialogue.”

“I would say he is an upright man and by far one of the greatest figures of our time…he is man who is always willing to listen, because he is not only a great thinker, he is also a great spiritual teacher.”

In a world that is “often blind,” it’s important to have someone “with this unbreakable attitude of openness,” he said, voicing his belief that Benedict “will be much better appreciated in the future” than he was at that time.

This article was originally published July 1, 2016.

HOME, SWEET ROME! – POPE FRANCIS GIVES INTERVIEW TO LA CROIX

HOME, SWEET ROME!

I am safely and happily back in Rome, luggage and all, after a very busy and very wonderful, fulfilling book-signing visit to New York and Washington, D.C. Each of the days I was gone was filled with great joy, a lot of reminiscing and much laughter! I’ve unpacked, rested a bit and spent the afternoon looking at email and catching up on Vatican news, including the papal interview you will find below.

In coming hours and days, as I do after every trip, I will find myself thinking back to all the encounters I had in NYC and DC – the book signings, the many fabulous meals, sharing First Communions, birthdays and even a college graduation this past Sunday. I will think about all the friends I saw, the new friends I made, the joy of meeting readers of this column and fans of “Joan’s Rome”! Just terrific!

Foremost in my mind is the superlative AHN (Academy of the Holy Names) dinner in Maryland where a former French teacher – Mlle Lewis! – met with a number of her students after 50 years! Tomorrow that story and pix!

I updated yesterday’s blog, “ENCOUNTERS….” that was missing a photo of one of those encounters, a young waitress named Jazminne, and I reposted that column on FB. Here is the missing photo:

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PAPAL TWEETS:

May 16: The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed in abundance so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity.

May 17: The world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ’s followers.

POPE FRANCIS GIVES INTERVIEW TO LA CROIX

Pope Francis has given an exclusive interview to the French Catholic La Croix newspaper. In the broad-ranging conversation with journalists Guillaume Goubert and Sébastien Maillard for La Croix, Pope Francis discussed matters ranging from healthy secularism and the right way to understand and live according to the Church’s universal missionary mandate, to the idea of Europe in relation to the migration crisis and the possibility of peaceful coexistence among Muslims and Christians.

He also addressed the clergy sex abuse crisis, offering considerations about an ongoing investigation – widely covered in France – involving the Archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, whose handling of the case of one pedophile priest in particular has been subject to scrutiny and criticism.

“It is true that it is not easy to judge the facts after decades, in another context,” said Pope Francis. Nevertheless, “For the Church in this area, there can be no statute of limitations: for these abuses, a priest who is called to lead people to God destroys a child. He spreads evil, resentment, pain. As Benedict XVI said, tolerance must be zero.”

Speaking to the specific case of Cardinal Barbarin, Pope Francis said, “Based on the information I have, I think that, at Lyon, Cardinal Barbarin has taken the necessary measures, he has taken things in hand.” The Holy Father went on to describe Cardinal Barbarin, saying, “He is a courageous man, a creative man, a missionary.” The Pope added, “We must now wait for the result of the process.”

Asked specifically and explicitly about whether he thinks Cardinal Barbarin ought to resign, Pope Francis answered, “No, that would be a contradiction, an imprudence. We shall see after the conclusion of the trial. But now it would be tantamount to his calling himself culpable.”

The Holy Father spoke of the challenges and opportunities facing the Church in France, which he described as, “The eldest daughter of the Church, but not the most faithful.” After a brief moment of laughter, the Holy Father added, “In the 1950s, France was called a ‘mission country’. In this sense, it is a periphery to evangelize. To be fair with France:  the Church there has a creative capacity all its own. France is also a land of great saints, great thinkers: Jean Guitton, Maurice Blondel, Emmanuel Levinas – who was not Catholic – Jacques Maritain. I also think the depth of literature.

I also like how French culture has permeated Jesuit spirituality in relation to the more ascetic Spanish current. The French current, which began with [St.] Peter Faber, while still insisting on the discernment of the mind, gives another flavor, with the great French spiritual figure, Louis Lallemant, Jean Pierre de Caussade – and with the great French Jesuit theologians, who helped the Society of Jesus so much: Henri de Lubac and Michel de Certeau. These last two I like a lot: two Jesuits who are creative. In short, this is what fascinates me with France. On the one hand, the exaggerated secularism, the legacy of the French Revolution and on the other, so many great saints.”

Asked which French saint is his favorite, Pope Francis offered, “St. Therese of Lisieux.”

His interviewers inquired after any concrete plans to visit France. “I received President François Hollande’s letter of invitation a short while ago. The Bishops’ Conference also invited me. I do not know when this trip will be, because next of year’s election in France and, in general, the Holy See’s practice is not to make such a trip in such a period. Last year, some hypotheses began to be formulated for such a trip, including a visit to Paris and its suburbs, to Lourdes, to a city where no pope visited – Marseille for example – which represents an open door to the world.”

The Holy Father also responded to a query regarding the shortage of priests. “Korea offers an historical example,” he said. “That country was evangelized by missionaries from China, from whose work the faith spread there. Then, for two centuries, Korea was evangelized by laymen. It is a land of saints and martyrs today with a strong Church. To evangelize, there need not necessarily be priests. Baptism gives strength to evangelize – and the Holy Spirit received in Baptism grows outward, to carry the Christian message with courage and patience. The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of the Church, the Church’s engine. Too many Christians do not know this. In contrast, a danger to the Church is clericalism: it is a sin that takes two to commit, like the tango. The priests want to ‘clericalize’ the laity and the laity demand to be clericalized, for the sake of ease. In Buenos Aires, I knew many good priests who, seeing a capable layman, immediately exclaimed, ‘Let’s make a deacon!’ No, let him remain a layman. Clericalism is important particularly in Latin America. If popular piety there is strong, it is precisely because it is the initiative of the laity on their own, and not a clerical thing. It remains misunderstood by the clergy.”

Another major focus of the conversation was the migration crisis. Asked whether he thinks Europe really can accommodate the numbers of migrants seeking refuge within her borders, the Holy Father said, “That is a fair and responsible question because we cannot open the doors irrationally – but the basic question to ask is why there are so many migrants today.”

The Pope went on to say, “The problem started with the wars in the Middle East and Africa and with the underdevelopment of the African continent, causing hunger: if there is war, it is because there are arms manufacturers – which can be justified for defense – [but the problem is] especially [with] arms traffickers. If there is so much unemployment, it is because of the lack of investment that can provide work, such as Africa so desperately needs.

“This raises the broader issue of a global economic system fallen into an idolatry of money. Over 80% of the wealth of humanity is in the hands of about 16% of the population. A completely free market does not work. The market itself is a good thing but it takes a fulcrum, a third party, the state, to control and balance it: what we call the social market economy.

“Returning to migrants: the worst [kind of] reception is ghettoization. Migrants must rather be integrated. In Brussels, the terrorists were Belgians, the children of migrants, but they came from a ghetto. In London, the new mayor [a Muslim of Pakistani origin, Sadiq Khan] was sworn in in a cathedral and will probably be received by the Queen. This shows the importance for Europe to regain its ability to integrate. I think of Gregory the Great, who negotiated with the so-called barbarians, who are then integrated.

“This integration is even more necessary today, as Europe is experiencing a serious problem of low birth rate, due to a selfish search for well-being. A demographic vacuum develops. In France, however, thanks to family policy, this trend is mitigated.

The Pope’s interviewers then asked whether the fear of welcoming migrants is perhaps fed in part by a fear of Islam, and whether the Holy Father considers such fear justified. In answer, Pope Francis said, “I do not think there is now a fear of Islam, as such, but of Daesh [the so-called ‘Islamic State’] and its war of conquest, driven in part by Islam. The idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam, it is true. But it could be interpreted with the same idea of conquest, [found at] the end of the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus sends his disciples in all nations.

“Faced with the current Islamic terrorism, we should question the way in which too Western a model of democracy was exported to countries where there was a strong power, such as in Iraq. Or in Libya, [with its] tribal structure. We cannot move forward without considering that culture. As one Libyan said some time ago: ‘We used to have Gaddafi, now we have 50 [of him]!’

“Deep down, coexistence between Christians and Muslims is possible. I come from a country in which they live together in good familiarity. Muslims venerate the Virgin Mary and St. George. In an African country, it was reported to me that for the Jubilee of mercy, Muslims stand in long queues at the Cathedral to go through the Holy Door and pray to the Virgin Mary. In the Central African Republic, before the war, Christians and Muslims lived together and must learn to do so again today. Lebanon also shows that it is possible.”

(Click here for interview: http://www.la-croix.com/Religion/Pape/INTERVIEW-Pope-Francis-2016-05-17-1200760633)